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Year: 2017

Roman Cepus (Ray, Ron or Mr Antar) immigrated from Slovenia in 1949 and became a pioneer of extreme heavy haulage and precision transport operations of the alpine terrains in Australia. After numerous jobs Roman found himself working for the Snowy Mountains Authority in the 1950's. This vocation included operating a high speed emergency ambulance service from the mountains to Cooma Hospital.

Roman was selected by Sir William Hudson to test drive and evaluate the first four wheel drive bus in Australia and then commissioned to drive VIPs around the Snowy Scheme in that vehicles. Ron was selected out of 120 applicants with three other drivers to drive one of the mighty Antars, hauling equipment for the Snowy Mountains Authority in that region, on roads and terrain that often had to be built on the run.

Ron's tenure also included managing Praznovszky-United transport in Cooma. This involved driver training, maintenance, equipment selection and tutoring people on how to operate rigid bogie drives grossing in excess of 26 tonnes on those roads in all weather conditions. His involvement also included driving one of the rare V-12 Tatras that was on the scheme in that period. Roman later moved to interstate cartage (Sydney to Melbourne) for Alltrans, carrying coke from Corrimal to Melbourne.

Roman operated the first tip over axle trailer in Australia, built by Sunshine Bodies with an International 184 V8 petrol prime mover. He operated many trucks in the 1960's and 1970's that were prone to poor engineering and solved problems that the manufacturers such as Rootes Group and General Motors could not. These typically involved the atrocious braking system on the air-hydraulic Commers. They seemed to be designed to operate the stop lights only. He did this in conjunction with the expertise of master engineer Steve Roberts from Goulbourn Truck Repairs. They also repaired problems of the fuel injection system of the 466 Bedford engines that the General was unable to solve. Reengineering and repowering trucks to correct engineering inconsistencies became Romans forte throughout his career.

In summary Roman left an enduring legacy in terms of real road safety. By sharing his knowledge and understanding of how to operated often underpowered, under braked, poorly engineered equipment in difficult terrains, balancing power, braking weight and oncoming traffic. Roman was truly a man of many talents and of the finest. A legend in every respect.

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